Friday, May 20, 2011
It's Hard to be Oscar
I remember when "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" was released and there was so much Junot Diaz hype. Junot Diaz seemed to be everywhere and I avoided the book because I felt it was just popular and maybe not that good. I had not read his first book, the short story collection "Drown" but my friend J. loved it and was so excited about his new book. Then she was so disappointed because she did not like the book at all. She could not connect with the main character. When I told A. I was reading this one for Newberry she also said she did not particularly like this book.
I loved it. Which was shocking because I had pretty low expectations and don't differ too often from J. & A.'s reading opinion. I thought it was constructed in a very original format. It was sort of a collection of short stories. I liked the different perspectives and voices. I liked the "Lord of the Ring" references and the footnotes. I felt so bad for Oscar. It's so hard enough to be a teen and then add the overbearing mother, being overweight, not having friends and liking nerd hobbies. It is a recipe for depression.
The story seemed to pay homage to other Latin writers with a little bit of the mystical at the end. Could you believe that Oscar had some happiness? And at what cost? Is Oscar too good, or not good enough, to survive his fate? Is there really a curse?
P. and I were talking last night about the difference between nerds and losers. Nerds have hobbies that others may not understand. To me a loser is someone who could do better, or be interesting and engaged, but does not try. In my opinion, Oscar was a nerd.
This was a book that I looked forward to getting back to when I had free time. I would love to tell you what the Newberry group thought of it but I can't. I messed up my dates because we had switched some books around. This is actually the book for June! So I'm ready for June but missed May. Rats. I've been bad at scheduling lately. Oh, well, maybe I'm stuck too much in books and that is not so bad.